Panna Cota with Strawberries

This recipe comes from my friend Karen in Maine. It is a very simple and light dessert. For other great recipes, please visit Karen’s site…

Panna Cotta BYJ

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 pkg. of Knox gelatin powder (1/4 oz.)
  • 1/4 c. milk plus an additional 1/4 c. milk
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 1/2 c. powdered (icing) sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract (optional)

Place 1/4 cup of milk in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it and let soften for about 10 minutes. Place the remaining 1/4 cup of milk and heavy cream into a pot and add the sugar, stirring well. Simmer over low heat until the mixture just starts to get small bubbles around the edge. Add the softened gelatin to the mixture and stir until the gelatin dissolves. (Do not let the mixture boil.) Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a container with a pouring spout. Stir in the vanilla and lemon extract.

Pour into small cups* and refrigerate for at least four hours. (If making the day before, once the mixture has gotten firm place a piece of plastic on top so that a thick skin doesn’t form.)

*If you plan to unmold the panna cotta, run cold water on the inside of the molds, rinse but do not dry. A thin film of non flavored oil can be wiped on the inside of the molds instead, which will also help when unmolding.  To unmold, dip the container into hot water for a few seconds and then run a knife around the edge.

Balsamic Strawberry Sauce

  • 1 c. sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar (Don’t skip this!)

Place all the ingredients in a small pan and bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for ten minutes. Mash the strawberries a little if necessary and then pour through a fine sieve, mashing with the back of a spoon to extract all the sauce. Refrigerate until ready to serve. May be prepared a day ahead.




Sorry that you are getting this a little early this week, as we are off Sunday for our Grape Escape. I will try to prepare a couple more recipes for posting when I get a quiet moment. In the meantime follow us on our journey through Wine Country…first California and then British Columbia. The new blog site is

This recipe is my favorite Italian dessert. I first had it when it was prepared by my Italian cleaning lady when I was working at Riverside Secondary School. Thanks to Adriana (who even gave me the espresso pot) I have been making it ever since! This particular recipe comes from Food Network as well….Disfrutalo!



  • 6 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup good dark rum, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups brewed espresso, divided
  • 16 to 17 ounces mascarpone cheese (Costco or Superama)
  • 30 Italian ladyfingers, or savoiardi (in Merida, they are available at Liverpool).
  • Bittersweet chocolate, shaved or grated
  • Confectioners’ sugar, optional


Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on high speed for about 5 minutes, or until very thick and light yellow. Lower the speed to medium and add 1/4 cup rum, 1/4 cup espresso, and the mascarpone. Whisk until smooth.

Combine the remaining 1/4 cup rum and 1 1/4 cups espresso in a shallow bowl. Dip 1 side of each ladyfinger in the espresso/rum mixture and line the bottom of a 9 by 12 by 2-inch dish. Pour half the espresso cream mixture evenly on top. Dip 1 side of the remaining ladyfingers in the espresso/rum mixture and place them in a second layer in the dish. Pour the rest of the espresso cream over the top. Smooth the top and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

Before serving, sprinkle the top with shaved chocolate and dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.